Current Research and Development

IsoAqua: Multi-element isotope analysis for the evaluation of sources and decomposition processes of chlorinated organic pollutants in the water cycle (BMBF, KMU innavativ, 11/2018 – 10/2020).

A large part of priority pollutants in the water cycle are organochlorine xenobiotics. Tetra- and trichloroethene (PCE, TCE) as the main representatives of the volatile, chlorinated hydrocarbons (CHC) are the most frequent contaminants of punctiform groundwater pollution. In addition, there are massive environmental burdens from chlorinated organic pesticides (e.g., lindane, DDT, atrazine, mecoprop, dichlorprop, chloridazon, metolachlor) and chlorinated benzenes. As the number of chlorine-containing drugs (e.g., diclofenac) and care products (e.g., triclosan) increases, polar, chlorinated hydrocarbons have also become the monitoring focus of origin and degradation.

Environmental authorities and scientists demand detailed monitoring concepts in order to establish sustainable remediation strategies. These take into account the detection and possibly the stimulation of biodegradation. In this context, component-specific isotope analysis (CSIA) is the key method for the elucidation and control of pollutant degradation processes

IsoAqua’s goal is to develop innovative methods for multi-element isotope analysis (ME-IA, 13C/12C, 37Cl/35Cl, 2H/1H) of organochlorine environmental chemicals. Different analysis methods are specifically developed and finally interlocked in order to achieve concerted analytical progress. Instrumental innovations include the application of chromium and silicon analysis reactors as well as unparalleled coupling and configuration of analytical procedures and hardware. Accompanying this, innovative concentration and derivatization methods will be established on environmental samples in order to apply ME-IA to a wider range of organochlorine pollutants (eg polar substances). As part of the process development, new, globally usable isotope standards for CSIA of environmental chemicals can also be produced (Golden Standard method).

Isodetect conducts IsoAqua in Leipzig together with the Laboratory for Stable Isotopes (LSI) at the Helmholtz Center for Environmental Research (UFZ). The project is funded by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) as part of its support for innovative, small companies (KMU innovativ).

Innovation steps in isotope analysis of organochlorine pollutants targeted by IsoAqua.